We are profiling amazing practice and community nurses, and midwives, during the Covid-19 pandemic as part of our Nursing Stars campaign with New NHS Alliance.
What is your usual role?
Proud to be a primary care nurse working within social care, supporting clinical development on behalf of the Royal British Legion. The role encompasses supporting the practice and educational development of the nursing, allied health professionals and the care workforce to create and sustain a culture of continuous learning and quality improvement in care settings.
Our services are part of the Operations Directorate of the Royal British Legion. It incorporates the Legion’s care homes, and community facilities. It’s an absolute privilege to work with our teams, veterans and families to provide both personalised social and clinical support to veterans and families. This includes clinical, social advice for people whose rights have been restricted under the Mental Capacity Act. Working in partnership with care homes, their families and their loved ones, to ensure quality care provision and standards within the community and social care sector.
An integral part of my role is to lead the design and implementation of a nurse and allied health professional induction and preceptorship programme for newly qualified nurses and staff working in social care, and supporting nurses returning to practice. In addition, we are very excited about the development of our Royal British legion student ambassador scheme, which facilitates support for third-year student nurses and health and social care apprentices to transition into the workplace, and to work towards independent and competent practice.
What work have you been doing during the Covid-19 outbreak?
I have been working throughout the Covid-19 outbreak (including on call) supporting care staff with clinical advice, advocacy, training, learning and development. There has been a strong shift and drive to ensure our communities are abreast with the latest training support and guidance in all things Covid-19. Our nurses and carers have been instrumental in supporting best practice in infection control and prevention advice, PPE advice and maintaining the safety and wellbeing and rights of all our beneficiaries during the Covid-19 period.
I have been working with our veteran residents and volunteers to become ‘handwashing’ champions, facilitating staff and carer knowledge and practice across the UK. This is such a positive change as we work together to overcome challenges. It is wonderful to see our families and their carers harness the use of current technology to keep informed and connected with loved ones throughout lockdown. I have been working with our practice development facilitators on e-learning packages for new care staff, and have been supporting learning and development through webinars and this has had a positive impact on utilising IT skills and current knowledge.
Why would you say you are a Covid-19 Nursing Star?
I started this new role in January of this year and have transitioned into the social care environment, in the midst of the pandemic – touched by the kindness of people, but thrown into the world of having to navigate the challenges of the social care sector, amidst the backdrop of Covid-19. I am seeing health and care through a whole new lens, in making sense of things from the raw materials of life. Being a Covid-19 Nursing Star requires great strength in swift decision making, with the skillset to be able to be flexible and adaptable to the changing crisis. I am particularly proud and humbled to be supporting anticipatory care planning, working with staff and families around palliative care advice, and witnessing excellence in end of life care delivered with respect and dignity.
What have you learnt from the experience of working during Covid-19?
I am passionate about the development of the workforce, working in equal partnership with those we care with. Our staff, veterans and volunteers have been our greatest asset and have shown the highest resolve, dedication and skill throughout this difficult time. I consider myself to be a lifelong learner. Someone once described me as having an irrational level of commitment, which I took to be a compliment. I like people who are deeply committed to what they believe in, and have learnt that the breath depth and complexity of care offered across social care needs to be highly valued throughout the UK.
Covid-19 has exacerbated some of the underlying workforce challenges that were already inherent within the care workforce. I have learnt that the power of deep listening is more than a valuable social habit, and can transform our way of working and how we develop that rapport with others. All our staff have commented that having the time and space and opportunity to feel heard and valued is imperative to affecting positive change for the future.